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  • LBT Meet
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  • Free Acting Workshop for Indian Transgender Community: TRANSaction
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Helpline

  • Helpline
  • Advice Column

The Sahay Team is available to help you with your questions and doubts that you may have. You can contact us at our coordinates given below:

Call us :
011- 4100 7035
Timings:
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM, Monday, Wednesday & Friday

Email us:

Chat with our Counsellor:
Chat Timings:
 
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM, Monday, Wednesday & Friday

Many of your questions may already have been answered, here are some more questions that we are commonly asked. You are welcome to contact us at the HelpLine contact details for further information.

Gender, sex and sexuality information and counselling:

I am suffering from Gender Dysphoria and want to start hormone replacement therapy. Are there any community-friendly doctors available?

I am suffering from Gender Dysphoria and want to start hormone replacement therapy. Are there any community-friendly doctors available?

There are community friendly doctors available across India. The list can be found at the following link: http://orinam.net/resources-for/lgbt/health-and-wellness/providers/

I am a trans man. Is it a disease? Can I change my sex? if so, how?

I am a trans man. Is it a disease? Can I change my sex? if so, how?

Being a trans man or trans woman is not a disease at all. It is simply a matter of one’s sense of self not matching the sex one was assigned at birth. It is your right to identify with whatever gender role you feel most comfortable with. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD version 11) that is about to be published only mentions ‘gender dysphoria.’

You can change your biological features through hormone replacement therapy and/or one or more gender affirmation surgeries. You may choose to undergo none, one, or all procedures/therapies associated with changing your biological features. In order to undergo gender reaffirmation surgeries, certain steps must be followed including receiving hormone replacement therapy, receiving counselling from mental health experts, and obtaining the necessary certificates in support of the surgery. It is very important to go through all the necessary tests before the surgery is prescribed by the surgeon. The cost of the surgery varies from state to state and female-to-male gender affirmation surgery is more expensive than male-to-female gender affirmation surgery. It is always suggested that you follow your doctor/surgeon’s advice when considering gender reaffirmation surgeries. A list of community-friendly services available can be found at the following link: http://orinam.net/resources-for/lgbt/health-and-wellness/providers/

If you would like to change your ID and other related documents to reflect your gender identity, you may submit an application to have these changes made, regardless of whether or not you have undergone any procedures/therapies in order to change your biological features. Please contact our helpline for additional support regarding official document changes.

I am a transgender woman and my family does not accept me. Where should I go?

I am a transgender woman and my family does not accept me. Where should I go?

We live in a patriarchal society in which it is difficult for a transgender woman to live her life without facing any stigma or discrimination. In your situation, it is important to consider your options. If you are financially stable, have sufficient support and are mentally equipped to leave your family, leaving may be the best option for you. However, if for example you are still continuing your education or do not have the means/support to leave, it may be best to stay with your family until you are capable of leaving. By that time, you may join any community-based organisation working for people like you; there you can get moral support and you can learn and share your experiences. Devote your time to the things that you like to do (for example doing art, etc.) as these activities may help you to become tension-free.

I am a transgender woman and want to change my identity documents. How is this possible?

I am a transgender woman and want to change my identity documents. How is this possible?

As per the NALSA judgement, it is not mandatory to undergo gender affirmation surgery to change your name and/or gender in your identity documents. You can seek help from any legal aide who deals with similar cases, including giving notice about name and gender change through the newspaper or through online publications, submission of existing documents and reapplication for a fresh set of documents showing your new name and/or gender. More information can be found here: http://orinam.net/resources-for/lgbt/legal-resources/tg-documentation/

I have a wife but I am mostly interested in men, and I cannot satisfy my wife physically. I am suffering from depression and trying to find a way out.

I have a wife but I am mostly interested in men, and I cannot satisfy my wife physically. I am suffering from depression and trying to find a way out.

Many people get married because of family pressure or due to a myriad of other reasons. You may also love your wife. It is absolutely up to you to decide what makes you feel most comfortable and whether you would like to leave your marriage or whether you are comfortable with your current situation and would simply like some additional support. It may be beneficial for you to seek mental health support and friendly guidance. There are various LGBT support groups in all major cities. You can choose one of them and visit. These groups can provide a safe space where you can learn and share your feelings and problems with similar-minded people; this may help you feel more relaxed and comfortable with your situation. You can follow this link for additional information: https://list.ly/list/FAQ-lgbtq-support-groups-and-resources-in-india

HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs):

I had sex with a bar girl and I am not sure if I used a condom. The last couple of days I have been getting a headache and a rash on my body. What should I do now? What is Window period?

I had sex with a bar girl and I am not sure if I used a condom. The last couple of days I have been getting a headache and a rash on my body. What should I do now? What is Window period?

It is always suggested that you use a condom during sex to avoid the risk of becoming infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If it has been less than 72 hours since you had sex, seek out a doctor immediately to see if you can receive PEP. Otherwise/afterwards, it is important to get tested, especially if you have multiple sexual partners and/or had unprotected sex without knowing your partner’s sexual history and HIV/STI status, or if you know that they are living with HIV or other STIs. In every Government hospital there is a department called an ICTC, or Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre, where you can access free counselling and testing services for HIV/AIDS and STIs like Syphillis with full confidentiality. The ICTC counsellor will help assess which tests you should get. Based on your test results and condition, you may then be referred to a testing and treatment facility, not only for HIV but also for other communicable diseases (including other STIs and TB).

It is suggested that you go for testing after the window period in order to get a definitive result, so consult your Doctor/Counsellor in order to determine when you should get tested.

It is important to get tested, especially if you have multiple sexual partners and/or had unprotected sex without knowing your partner’s sexual history and HIV/STI status. If you are going to get tested, it is important to note that an HIV infection may not be detectable immediately after exposure as it takes time until tests are able to detect the virus. This period in which you may be infected with HIV but would not necessarily test HIV+ is called the window period. It is suggested that you go for testing after the window period in order to get a definitive result, so consult your Doctor/Counsellor in order to determine when you should get tested. On average, the duration of the window period is between 3 weeks and 3 months, depending on your body, immune system and on the HIV test that is used.

I had sex with a commercial sex worker, but after I removed penis from the vagina, some vaginal fluid might have touched the penis, which I am afraid of contracting HIV infection.Yesterday I was fooling around with someone and we didn’t have penetrative sex but my penis might have gotten some vaginal fluid on it. Could I have gotten HIV?

I had sex with a commercial sex worker, but after I removed penis from the vagina, some vaginal fluid might have touched the penis, which I am afraid of contracting HIV infection.Yesterday I was fooling around with someone and we didn’t have penetrative sex but my penis might have gotten some vaginal fluid on it. Could I have gotten HIV?

Vaginal fluid and blood can carry HIV and there are possible gateways of spreading infection, including small cuts, scratches, or open sores anywhere on the penis. Considering the risk factor, it is better you can go for an HIV test in a Government approved ICTC and the counsellor will guide you if you need any other test including STIs.

HIV and some other STIs can be spread through vaginal fluid. Possible gateways for infection include small cuts, scratches, or open sores anywhere on the penis. Even without full penetration, if you were in contact with someone else’s genital fluid it is possible that you may have been infected with HIV and/or some other STI. As it has been less than 72 hours since your sexual contact, seek out a doctor immediately to see if you should receive PEP. Otherwise/afterwards, it is important that you go get tested for HIV and other STIs, especially if you have multiple sexual partner and/or do not know your partner’s sexual history and HIV/STI status, or if you know that they are living with HIV or other STIs. In every Government hospital there is a department called an ICTC, or Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre, where you can access free counselling and testing services for HIV/AIDS and other STIs with full confidentiality. The ICTC counsellor will help assess which tests you should get. Based on your test results and condition, you may then be referred to a testing and treatment facility, not only for HIV but also for other communicable diseases (including other STIs and TB).

If you are going to get tested, it is important to note that an HIV infection may not be detectable immediately after exposure as it takes time until tests are able to detect the virus. This period in which you may be infected with HIV but would not necessarily test HIV+ is called the window period. It is suggested that you go for testing after the window period in order to get a definitive result, so consult your Doctor/Counsellor in order determine when you should get tested. On average, the duration of the window period is between 3 weeks and 3 months, depending on your body, immune system and on the HIV test that is used.

STI:

I had a sexual encounter and felt some symptoms after that. I visited different Doctors and got different opinions so I’ve finally decided to go for an STI check-up. Are there any Government STI clinics in Delhi?

I had a sexual encounter and felt some symptoms after that. I visited different Doctors and got different opinions so I’ve finally decided to go for an STI check-up. Are there any Government STI clinics in Delhi?

In every Government hospital there is a STI clinic in the OPD section where you can go and get tested for STI. But please remember that like STI, HIV also spreads through sexual route especially when you are having unprotected sex. Government hospitals also have free HIV testing facility in the department called an ICTC, or Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre. Here you can access free counselling and testing services for HIV/AIDS and other STIs like Syphillis with full confidentiality. The ICTC counsellor will help assess which tests you should get. Based on your test results and condition, you may then be referred to a testing and treatment facility, not only for HIV but also for other communicable diseases (including other STIs and TB). There are good Government hospitals in Delhi including Safdurjung Hospital and the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIMS). You can visit the respective OPD section or you can also install the AIIMS App on your phone to book an appointment. Download the app by following this link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aiims.hospital

HIV/AIDS:

I want to know more about PrEP and PEP.

I want to know more about PrEP and PEP.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is the use of an antiretroviral medication to prevent uninfected persons from HIV infection. There are two forms of PrEP: an antiretroviral drug available for treatment of HIV infection (tenofovir plus emtricitabine) taken orally, or a vaginal gel containing tenofovir applied topically. You need to consult a doctor before going for PrEP, self-medication is strictly not recommended.

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is short-term antiretroviral treatment that is taken to reduce the likelihood of HIV infection after a potential exposure (e.g. an occupational exposure or through sexual intercourse). Within the health sector, PEP should be provided as part of a comprehensive universal precautions package that reduces exposure to infectious hazards at work and to people exposed to HIV due to violence or exploitation.

I am a bi-curious man and have had anal intercourse with another man. I have a throat infection. Is it because of HIV?

I am a bi-curious man and have had anal intercourse with another man. I have a throat infection. Is it because of HIV?

It is always suggested that you use a condom during anal or any other form of intercourse, especially if you have multiple partners and/or do not know your partner’s sexual history and HIV/STI status, or if you know that they are living with HIV or other STIs. Since anal tissues are not stretchable, it is also important to use lube along with the condom during anal intercourse. However, do not use oil-based lubes with latex condoms as this can lead to condom breakage. Although having unprotected sex with a person who is living with HIV does not necessarily mean that you will get infected—the risk of transmission varies depending on the HIV+ person’s stage of infection, viral load, immune system, etc.—anal intercourse is the form of sexual contact that carries the highest risk of transmission, so it is always advised to used protection.

However, whether or not you used protection, if you are experiencing symptoms and/or think you might be infected with HIV, and If it has been less than 72 hours since you had sex, seek out a doctor immediately to see if you can receive PEP. Otherwise/afterwards, it is important to make sure you go get tested. In every Government hospital there is a department called an ICTC, or Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre, where you can access free counselling and testing services for HIV/AIDS and other STI like Syphillis with full confidentiality. The ICTC counsellor will help assess which tests you should get. Based on your test results and condition, you may then be referred to a testing and treatment facility, not only for HIV but also for other communicable diseases (including other STIs and TB).

If you are going to get tested, it is important to note that an HIV infection may not be detectable immediately after exposure as it takes time until tests are able to detect the virus. This period in which you may be infected with HIV but would not necessarily test HIV+ is called the window period. It is suggested that you go for testing after the window period in order to get a definitive result, so consult your Doctor/Counsellor in order determine when you should get tested. On average, the duration of the window period is between 3 weeks and 3 months, depending on your body, immune system and on the HIV test that is used.

I am living with HIV. Where can I go to get my treatment?

I am living with HIV. Where can I go to get my treatment?

In every Government hospital there is a department called ART centre or Anti-Retroviral Treatment centre where you can get treatment and related services in full confidentiality and free of cost. You can start by visiting your nearest ART centre, please refer to the external service provider section for details of ART centre near you. While visiting the nearest ART centre do carry the HIV test report and your identity proof (preferably Adhar card) for getting enrolled into the free ARV treatment facilities of the government.
In case you have got your HIV test done from some private clinic, you need to get your HIV status confirmed from the government ICTC before your ARV treatment can be initiated.

I have had an interaction with a commercial sex worker. How can PrEP/PEP help me?

I have had an interaction with a commercial sex worker. How can PrEP/PEP help me?

It is always suggested that you use a condom during sex to avoid the risk of becoming infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially if you have multiple partners and/or do not know your partner’s sexual history and HIV/STI status, or if you know that they are living with HIV or other STIs. However, if you are at high risk of HIV exposure or believe that you might have already been exposed PrEP and PEP might help you:

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is the use of an antiretroviral medication to prevent uninfected persons from HIV infection. There are two forms of PrEP: an antiretroviral drug available for treatment of HIV infection (tenofovir plus emtricitabine) taken orally, or a vaginal gel containing tenofovir applied topically. Oral PrEP has been shown to be highly effective when used as directed. PrEP gel has only been shown to be moderately effective.
Currently PrEPis not included into the Govt. AIDS control programme and is not freely available, please consult a doctor before you go ahead with PrEP.

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is an emergency short-term antiretroviral treatment that is taken to reduce the likelihood of HIV infection after a potential exposure (e.g. an occupational exposure or through sexual intercourse). If you visit a health professional within 72 hours of a suspected infection, PEP may be recommended for you.

In addition to considering PrEP and PEP, it is also important to go get tested. In every Government hospital there is a department called an ICTC, or Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre, where you can access free counselling and testing services for HIV/AIDS and other STIs like Syphillis with full confidentiality. The ICTC counsellor will help assess which tests you should get. Based on your test results and condition, you may then be referred to a testing and treatment facility, not only for HIV but also for other communicable diseases (including other STIs and TB).

If you are going to get tested, it is important to note that an HIV infection may not be detectable immediately after exposure as it takes time until tests are able to detect the virus. This period in which you may be infected with HIV but would not necessarily test HIV+ is called the window period. It is suggested that you go for testing after the window period in order to get a definitive result, so consult your Doctor/Counsellor in order determine when you should get tested. On average, the duration of the window period is between 3 weeks and 3 months, depending on your body, immune system and on the HIV test that is used.

I am engaged in a sexual relationship with a married couple (both male and female). Is there any risk of transmission of HIV?

I am engaged in a sexual relationship with a married couple (both male and female). Is there any risk of transmission of HIV?

It is suggested to get the HIV test done for all three of you. If any three of you is living with HIV then transmission risk automatically increases being in a sexual relationship with multiple partners.

I am engaged in a sexual relationship with a married couple (both male and female). Is there any risk of HIV transmission?

I am engaged in a sexual relationship with a married couple (both male and female). Is there any risk of HIV transmission?

It is always suggested that you use a condom during sex to avoid the risk of becoming infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially if you have multiple partners and/or do not know your partners’ sexual history and HIV/STI status, or if you know that they are living with HIV or other STIs. It is suggested that all three of you get tested for HIV and other STIs. If any of you is living with HIV or other STIs then the transmission risk automatically increases by being in a sexual relationship with multiple partners. In every Government hospital there is a department called an ICTC, or Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre, where you can access free counselling and testing services for HIV/AIDS and other STIs with full confidentiality. The ICTC counsellor will help assess which tests you should get. Based on your test results and condition, you may then be referred to a testing and treatment facility, not only for HIV but also for other communicable diseases (including other STIs and TB).

If you are going to get tested, it is important to note that an HIV infection may not be detectable immediately after exposure as it takes time until tests are able to detect the virus. This period in which you may be infected with HIV but would not necessarily test HIV+ is called the window period. It is suggested that you go for testing after the window period in order to get a definitive result, so consult your Doctor/Counsellor in order determine when you should get tested. On average, the duration of the window period is between 3 weeks and 3 months, depending on your body, immune system and on the HIV test that is used.

I am gay and have engaged in sexual activity with two guys. I have found some warts in and around the anus and also on the penis of one of my partners. Is there any risk of getting infected with HIV?

I am gay and have engaged in sexual activity with two guys. I have found some warts in and around the anus and also on the penis of one of my partners. Is there any risk of getting infected with HIV?

It is always suggested that you use a condom during sex to avoid the risk of becoming infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially if you have multiple partners and do not know your partners’ sexual history and HIV/STI status, or if you know that they are living with HIV or other STIs. Unsafe sexual exposure can be harmful if your partner has any kind of transmissible infection. Based on the symptoms described, it sounds like your partner may be suffering from a sexually transmitted infection. Some STIs can increase the risk of HIV transmission. It is suggested that you and your partner go get tested for HIV and other STIs. In every Government hospital there is a department called an ICTC, or Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre, where you can access free counselling and testing services for HIV/AIDS and other STIs like Syphillis with full confidentiality. The ICTC counsellor will help assess which tests you should get. Based on your test results and condition, you may then be referred to a testing and treatment facility, not only for HIV but also for other communicable diseases (including other STIs and TB).

If you are going to get tested, it is important to note that an HIV infection may not be detectable immediately after exposure as it takes time until tests are able to detect the virus. This period in which you may be infected with HIV but would not necessarily test HIV+ is called the window period. It is suggested that you go for testing after the window period in order to get a definitive result, so consult your Doctor/Counsellor in order determine when you should get tested. On average, the duration of the window period is between 3 weeks and 3 months, depending on your body, immune system and on the HIV test that is used.

I was physically intimate with a woman without intercourse and fingered her private parts. Now I am afraid that maybe I could have been infected with HIV.

I was physically intimate with a woman without intercourse and fingered her private parts. Now I am afraid that maybe I could have been infected with HIV.

HIV is spread through blood or blood-related products and reproductive/genital fluids. If you did not have intercourse, so long as you did not have any cuts on your body parts that touched the woman’s genitals, your chance of being infected with HIV is quite low. However, you may have had a cut you were not aware of and you may have been exposed to other STIs such as genital warts. To be safe and for your own peace of mind, it is still suggested that you go get tested for STIs. In every Government hospital there is a department called an ICTC, or Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre, where you can access free counselling and testing services for HIV/AIDS and other STIs like Syphillis with full confidentiality. The ICTC counsellor will help assess which tests you should get. Based on your test results and condition, you may then be referred to a testing and treatment facility, not only for HIV but also for other communicable diseases (including other STIs and TB).

If you are going to get tested, it is important to note that an HIV infection may not be detectable immediately after exposure as it takes time until tests are able to detect the virus. This period in which you may be infected with HIV but would not necessarily test HIV+ is called the window period. It is suggested that you go for testing after the window period in order to get a definitive result, so consult your Doctor/Counsellor in order determine when you should get tested. On average, the duration of the window period is between 3 weeks and 3 months, depending on your body, immune system and on the HIV test that is used.

I had a potential risk of HIV exposure 9 months ago and have been tested for HIV 11 times since then. Every test was non-reactive but I am still unsure about my status. What should I do?

I had a potential risk of HIV exposure 9 months ago and have been tested for HIV 11 times since then. Every test was non-reactive but I am still unsure about my status. What should I do?

If you are getting tested for HIV, it is important to note that an HIV infection may not be detectable immediately after exposure as it takes time until tests are able to detect the virus. This period in which you may be infected with HIV but would not necessarily test HIV+ is called the window period. It is suggested that you go for testing after the window period in order to get a definitive result, so consult your Doctor/Counsellor in order determine when you should get tested. On average, the duration of the window period is between 3 weeks and 3 months, depending on your body, immune system and on the HIV test that is used. So long as some of your tests were done after this window period, it is highly unlikely that you are infected. However, if you are still concerned, please contact your Doctor/Counsellor and they can review your test results and provide confirmation that you are not HIV-infected.

I have a sore throat. Is it because of HIV?

I have a sore throat. Is it because of HIV?

There are many possible causes of a sore throat including:

• a cold or the flu
• laryngitis (inflammation of the voice box)
• tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils)
• strep throat (a bacterial throat infection)
• glandular fever
• other reasons like being in a dry environment or screaming a lot, etc

Usually, a sore throat can be treated by consulting a general physician. However, if you have engaged in any unprotected sexual acts, it is always advised that you get tested for HIV and other STIs, especially if you have multiple partners and do not know your partners’ sexual history and HIV/STI status, or if you know that they are living with HIV or other STIs. In every Government hospital there is a department called an ICTC, or Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre, where you can access free counselling and testing services for HIV/AIDS and other STIs with full confidentiality. The ICTC counsellor will help assess which tests you should get. Based on your test results and condition, you may then be referred to a testing and treatment facility, not only for HIV but also for other communicable diseases (including other STIs and TB).

If you are going to get tested, it is important to note that an HIV infection may not be detectable immediately after exposure as it takes time until tests are able to detect the virus. This period in which you may be infected with HIV but would not necessarily test HIV+ is called the window period. It is suggested that you go for testing after the window period in order to get a definitive result, so consult your Doctor/Counsellor in order determine when you should get tested. On average, the duration of the window period is between 3 weeks and 3 months, depending on your body, immune system and on the HIV test that is used.

Last Modified: 4 August 2018